No regrets for Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
Former WWE, WCW star appearing in Thunder Bay on Saturday
It's safe to say Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake doesn't have any regrets over taking up his friend Terry Bollea's offer to hit the road and try to make it as a professional wrestler.
"I had seven Wrestlemanias, a multitude of titles," Beefcake, a former WWE and WCW star, said in a phone interview during a recent stop on the latest Canadian Wrestling's Elite (CWE) tour.
The tour will bring him to Thunder Bay on Saturday.
"I worked in 10 movies," he says. "Travelled the world for 40 years, 41 years. Worked in Japan, worked all over Europe, Asia."
"Worked with the best of the best of the best, at the top, for a long time."
Having said all that, it may elicit surprise that Beefcake didn't have any squared circle aspirations when he was younger. However, he knew someone who did: Bollea, who would eventually go on to adopt the ring name Hulk Hogan.
"I was training with Hulk and his friends in the gym for several years," Beefcake said. "He had a dream of being a wrestler. I didn't."
Hogan's first attempt at getting into the business — in the 1970s, long before Hulkamania — didn't go so well, however.
"He tried to get involved with a promotion in Florida," Beefcake said. "They didn't like him. First day in his training camp, they broke his ankle. That's their way of saying 'we don't want you, go away.'"
"After his ankle got better, he went back to the school, and I guess they let him finish," he said. "Then, basically, they wouldn't book him in the towns. They'd book him in a town that's 400 miles away, 300 miles away ... they wouldn't pay him anything. So he quit, he got real frustrated."
Hogan was looking for another way in, but most of his friends didn't have any wrestling aspirations themselves. So Hogan called Beefcake.
'They put us to work'
"I used to watch wrestling when I was a kid ... but it's nothing I ever thought about doing," Beefcake said. "He asked me if I was interested, maybe, in going out, going on the road, trying to get in the wrestling business. I said 'ah, what the hell, we'll give it a try.'"
The two trained together for more than a year before taking their shot, Beefcake said.
"We helped each other prepare," he said. "When we thought we were ready, we made the calls to the right people and they put us to work."
But despite his own success, Beefcake is careful when handing out advice to younger wrestlers.
"The wrestling business is a very, very tough life," he said. "One in about a hundred million guys ever really make it, and that's pretty poor odds, if you ask me."
"Chase your dreams, man, go after them, do what you gotta do," he said. "But you also gotta be logical and smart about this, too."
Beefcake will be at Thunder Bay's West Thunder Community Centre this Saturday as part of CWE's Struttin' and Cuttin' tour, which also features Ring of Honor six-man world tag team champions The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia, and TK O'Ryan).
Bell time is 7 p.m.